I would appreciate some advice. I have decided that I need to speak to my husband about our relationship ending. He has a gambling addiction, I found out about it a couple of years ago whilst I was pregnant with our first child. I know that he’s doing everything he can to control his addiction, he goes to GA, has made other lifestyle changes, and he is more honest than he had previously been in our relationship.
However, on a personal and intimacy level our relationship hasn’t recovered. I don’t feel as angry about what happened and what he’s done in the past, it’s just that our relationship (if not wholly built on) was structured and developed around the dynamics of the lies and financial problems associated with the addiction.
I had hoped that I would regain my emotional feelings towards him with distance from the disclosure and with our quality of life improving and having more honestly between us. Unfortunately I just don’t feel the way I should or would want to about my husband. Because of this I need to tell him that I want our marriage to end.
I still foresee us co-habiting and co-parenting for as long as this works for the three of us and I still want to support him as a friend and as my family. But I cannot continue with the pressure/expectation that we should stay together and that our relationship will recover when I no longer believe that this is possible. I do not want this to set back his recovery and would just like some advice on how I should manage this situation best. I know this will affect him massively, but how do I do all I can to lessen his pain and stop him from feeling ashamed and like a failure. I know that his wider family will see it as him having lost me due to the gambling and this will increase his feelings of self-hate. I do not want to do that to him and as I’m sure you will all appreciate, it’s just not that simple.
Thank you for your reply.
Please be reassured that my son’s happiness and welfare is and will always be my central focus. This is also true for my husband (when he isn’t gambling). But I suppose the logical conclusion to your comment would be that I should stay with his father because if I hurt his father by ending our relationship this will potentially harm my child? Something which I already feel guilty for and am constantly worried about.
But if we stay together and he has a depressed mother and eventually a father who is also unhappy in this relationship, I’m not sure that would be the best choice for him either.
So I hope people will offer some additional advice to yours, perhaps those who have faced a similar situation (gambler or partner). And can help me to find the best way to get through this situation, understanding that I want to cause my partner the least pain, and thereby hopefully protect my child from this as far as this is in my power.
You don't know me so don't conclude anything. I cohabitate with my x to raise our daughter. I have however had plenty of time to adjust to the situation so the agreement between us is mutual for now. Any break-up instigation by any side is like lighting a stick of dynamite. You don't know where you just know that things will explode therefore you will need to be a captain of your own ship and stear it right through that storm till you get to calmer waters. It can be done. I have been through it more than once. You seem to be a person who can get there so just follow your compass. I am sure you will get more good advice from others soon. Just hang on.
There have been many people who have been caused pains by an addict in their relationships.
In you sharing you make no mention of the pains you have experienced and suffered both during your relationship with your partner and people in your life.
The recovery program is about healing, GA is for the addicts and Gamanon is for the people parents and partners who have been hurt.
Being an addict myself I would not or could not talk about my pains and move on with my life.
By leaving a person will not heal the pain caused by betrayal.
In my time there have been many people who have repeatedly gone from addict to addict thinking it had nothing to do about their choice.
If you continue or not with your relationship with an addict or not healing pain is very important.
There were far to many times I caused my wife to cry.
There were fear and insecurity levels which were unbearable.
It took me over 20 years to find out what true recovery and healing were all about.
I am now 26 years without a bet yet we both understand that my addiction was not my problem.
How do we measure my recovery today, do my family fear me today, do they feel they can trust me today, are my communications healthier today.
Am I able to tell them when I am emotionally vulnerable.
I wish you the very best in your life and your important life decisions.
OK.. well here is another take on things. My parents separated when I was a young teenager. I didn't see it coming, I wasn't looking, I was a child. With the benefit of hindsight I can now see they were unhappy, little communication, no intimacy at all so am told. Years later I develop a gambling addiction and then one day am in a deep hole because of my gambling and i decide to get very drunk and write a letter effectively blaming my mother for my gambling.
Thinking back it embarrasses me the degree to which I tried to absolve myself of my gambling problem. I mean at the end of the day my mother never dragged me into a gambling den and told me to gamble. With counselling I came to understand that i was traumatised by my parents split and never grieved the loss and i didn't know whether I was loved or not. That left a long lasting imprint on my sub-concious.
With your situation it seems to me that the relationship may be breaking down but that the gambling itself is like the tip of the iceberg, just a symptom of other things. My thought is that whatever you decide to do, do it sooner rather than later, before your child is really old enough to see and feel what is really happening... and then once your child is older enough keep them in the loop, explain what happened and why... it will help there emotional well being.
Hope this helps and likewise maybe others have some thoughts...
Thank you for posting and sharing your situation. You've made a very difficult and important decision about your future. It sounds like in your second post, you're perceiving a pressure on you to stay with your partner. We hope you have returned to read the rest of the responses. Having said that, no two people's experiences are the same. At the end of the day you have to do what's right for you in your situation. And you don't have to go through it alone. There's support out there for you. If you'd like to talk this over some more 1:1 you could call our freephone HelpLine on 0808 8020 133 or chat to an Adviser on our NetLine. Both are available 24 hours a day. A few posters have suggested GamAnon or 1:1 treatment - if you'd like to explore those options visit the links or talk to us on the HelpLine or NetLine.
You might also be interested in a new chatroom we've started, on Wednesday evenings at 7pm, just for family and friends of problem gamblers. The first one is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday 12th Feb 2020, at 7pm.
Take care and keep posting,
Thanks all for your thoughts and advice. I was too late to join the chat room this evening, but will try to login next week.
Apologies if I was defensive in reply previously. I suppose you don’t realise until you post that there are answers you want to hear, and ones you don’t. In my position, it’s very hard to hear about the potential harm that I may cause my son. And how my actions moving forwards (however carefully taken or well-meaning) will impact him. Because I feel like I’ve had very little control over the course our relationship has taken, and sadly am no longer able to sustain it. And I’ve gotten to the point where pretending otherwise is making me ill.
I had hoped to gain some insight into how I can best confront the situation and share my feelings with my husband without putting him in a very dark place (because of the guilt attached to the addition and his previous actions). I have taken some advice elsewhere which suggests simply separating it out from the gambling. Our relationship is what it is now, and the reason it probably won’t succeed isn’t because he’s a gambler or that he has gambled/lied. Perhaps it just wasn’t ever equipped to weather the storm.
Thanks again to all, and best wishes to all dealing with their own struggles.